Urban managers, decision-makers and planners are hard pressed to ensure provision of adequate basic products and social services which include, among others, food, employment opportunities, health care, clean water and environment and housing to rapidly growing urban population. The full potential of UA as a solution available to urban managers in meeting the growing demand for goods and services has not been explored.

UA is an important sector of the urban economy and when supported and practiced in a sustainable manner it can trigger local economic development and assist in urban poverty alleviation.

Justification for the Programme

Municipal managers, decision-makers and planners are in search of strategies on how to harness and maximise the benefits of UA and mitigate its negative impacts. In response to this demand MDP launched the Urban Agriculture Programme in Eastern and Southern Africa. The programme seeks to enable deeper understanding of UA and provide mechanisms to enhance its benefits and at the same time provide tools with which to combat its negative impacts. The programme is guided by a vision of UA that promotes sustainable UA, creates employment, provide expanded economic opportunities, feed the cities and make the urban centres liveable.

Objectives of the Programme

The specific objectives of the programme are to:

Facilitate a shared vision of UA by key stakeholders in urban governance.
Foster increased stakeholder participation in the formulation of decisions and implementation of programmes and projects in relation to UA policies and practices.  
Disseminate knowledge, information and best practices for UA.
Facilitate the building of partnerships for practice of sustainable of UA between local governments, NGOs, CBOs and the private sector on UA.  
Contribute to literature on UA by facilitating research documentation and publication.
Facilitate the integration of UA into urban planning and development programmes.

UA Target Activities

Activities within the Urban Agriculture Programme cut across MDP’s five thematic areas, namely: Policy Research & Governance, Direct Support to Municipalities, capacity building & Training, Decentralized Cooperation and Information Management & Dissemination. As such specific activities will be undertaken under each of the thematic areas as follows:

Policy Research& Governance

– Land tenure planning and regularisation
– Urban environmental resource management
– Mainstreaming gender
– UA and poverty alleviation
– Best practices
– Design models for incorporating UA in existing
– Conflict resolution strategies over resource utilisation and future settlements

Direct Support

 UA policy development at national or local government level
 Developing strategic plans on UA
 Review of legislation and by-laws in municipalities in relation to UA


 UA sensitisation programs for local governments
 Course modules on integrating UA

Decentralized Cooperation

 Facilitate the formation of UA stakeholder forums
 Facilitate municipal cooperation both south-south and north-south Partnership building

Information Management & Dissemination

 Dissemination of UA information
 Publication of UA research
 Maintain a regional database of local government and UA contacts
 Resource centre on UA
 Conflict resolution strategies over resource utilisation

Target Audience

– Local government & central government agencies
– Non-governmental organizations and community based organizations
– Academics
– Donor agencies
– Support service providers, financial institutions, input suppliers and donor agencies

Expected Outputs

– Efficient dissemination of knowledge and information and best practices for UA.
– Increase in UA publications
– Increased stakeholder participation in decision-making and the implementation of programmes and projects in relation to UA policies and practices.
– Strong partnerships between local governments, NGO’s, CBO’s and the private sector.

Impact of Urban Agriculture Programme

1. Sustainable practice of UA in cities.
2. Food secure and self-sufficient cities.
3. Increase in opportunities for employment in the field of UA.
4. Incorporation of UA into land use planning.


Among others, MDP partners in the UA Programme are:

Resource Centre  on Urban Agriculture and Forestry (RUAF) at ETC-International, the  Netherlands  (email – website)
MDP is RUAF’s regional focal point for Eastern and Southern Africa
Cities Feeding  People Programme at the  International Development Research Centre (CFP-IDRC), Canada (email – website)   
Southern Africa Development Community- Food Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (SADC – FANRPAN)  (email – website)
Urban Management Programme, Regional Office for Africa (UMP-ROA)
(email – website)   

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